A senior British diplomat and two foreigners have been arrested on suspicion of espionage by Iranian military officials.
RT – Britain’s second most senior diplomat in Tehran is one of three foreigners arrested for espionage by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
Giles Whittaker, deputy head of the British embassy in Tehran, was accused of collecting soil samples in a restricted area, according to a report on Iranian state television on Wednesday. Video footage released by the IRGC shows the senior diplomat, along with family members, collecting soil samples in Iran’s central desert where missile exercises are being carried out.
Whittaker reportedly apologized for the transgression and was kicked out of the area. The media report did not say whether he and the other suspects were still in custody. The other detainees were identified as Maciej Walczak, the husband of Austria’s cultural attaché in Iran and a Polish university professor visiting the country on a scientific exchange program.
The IRGC footage shows Walczak and three colleagues collecting soil samples in a restricted area of Kerman province where missile tests are being conducted. The Polish professor is said to be from Nicolaus Copernicus University, which the Iranian broadcaster said was “linked to the Zionist regime”.
The allegations come as talks to renew the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which former US President Donald Trump scrapped in 2018, have stalled.
An Iranian media report on Wednesday suggested the alleged spies were trying to build a new case about “the military aspects of Iran’s file with the International Atomic Energy Agency.”
Whittaker has been Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy in Tehran since November 2018. His career in the UK government spanned more than three decades and included embassies in Moscow, Berlin and Islamabad, as well as NATO headquarters in Brussels. . The IRGC has arrested dozens of foreigners on espionage charges in recent years. Rob Macaire, then UK ambassador to Iran, was arrested in January 2020 for allegedly inciting protests against the accidental downing of a Ukrainian airliner by the Iranian military.
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